3.25.2022

Ukraine Refugees, Hacker Surprise, and America's Most Filmed Streets Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Friday, March 25, and we're covering announcements from a NATO meeting in Brussels, a surprise mastermind behind a prolific hacking spree, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

NEED TO KNOW

 

US to Take Ukraine Refugees

The US would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, officials said yesterday, as part of an expanded effort to help those fleeing the fallout from Russia's monthlong invasion of the country. The number is about 3% of the nearly 3.6 million refugees that have departed to neighboring countries (see breakdown). Another 6.5 million residents have been displaced inside Ukraine, which had a prewar population of around 44 million. 

 

The announcement came as President Joe Biden traveled to meet with NATO leaders in Brussels. The administration pledged an additional $1B in humanitarian aid, while Biden also said he supported forcing Russia to leave the G-20, which represents the world's largest economies. 

 

See map updates here, along with photos from the ground after one month of fighting

No-Confidence Vote in Pakistan

The Pakistani parliament will convene today to consider a vote of no-confidence against embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan. If approved, Khan's government would resign, with the possibility of a coalition of opposition parties taking its place. Opponents have accused Khan of mismanaging the economy, which has been battered by inflation and high government debt.  

 

Khan's PTI party has 155 members in the National Assembly, short of the 172 majority vote needed to remain in power. Opposition parties have 163 confirmed votes, but say they may pass the threshold with the help of defections from Khan's party. 

 

Khan, a former cricket star who assumed office in 2018, resisted weeks of calls to resign and avoid the referendum. No prime minister has ever carried out a full five-year term in the country's history.

Lapsus$ Surprise

A teenager living with his mother in England is believed to be the mastermind behind a string of high-profile corporate hacks, according to security researchers. Suspected to lead a group of at least seven individuals collectively known as Lapsus$, the teen has not been formally charged with crimes. 

 

Unlike cyberattacks that install malicious software or lock systems until ransoms are paid, the group has focused on extortion, stealing intellectual property, and threatening public release unless demands are met. Known targets have included Microsoft, Nvidia, Samsung, Vodafone, and others. The group appears to gain initial access via soft targets—actively recruiting employees with inside access, roles which it advertises on its 45,000-person-strong Telegram channel. 

 

The teenager, whose identity has been withheld by officials, was reportedly doxxed—or had his identity made public—by a rival hacker group. 

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Babbel

> The 94th Academy Awards take place this Sunday (8 pm ET, ABC); see Oscar predictions for each category (More)

 

> The University of Michigan settles lawsuit with students over its handling of sexual misconduct (More

 

> No. 1 seed Gonzaga loses to No. 4 Arkansas, No. 1 seed Arizona loses to No. 5 Houston in men's Sweet 16 (More) | Women's NCAA tourney Sweet 16 begins tonight; see matchup previews and predictions (More)

From our partners: Get ready to travel, meet new people, and explore the world with Babbel. Created by real language experts, Babbel's lessons are designed to take you from novice to conversational in just three weeks (and they're so sure you'll be satisfied, they offer a 20-day money-back guarantee). Train your brain to learn or brush up on one of 14 languages, and take up to 60% off your subscription for a limited time.

Science & Technology

> NASA releases plans for its next space-based telescope; SPHEREx will study galaxy formation while making a complete survey of the sky every six months (More)

 

> Physicists create compressible "gas of light"; the experiment confirms a number of predictions of quantum mechanics and may be used to measure tiny forces (More)

 

> Study reveals the Spinosaurus had dense bone structure similar to that of penguins; results are the latest in the debate over whether some dinosaur species were predominantly aquatic creatures (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +1.4%, Dow +1.0%, Nasdaq +1.9%) on lower jobless claims (More) | Russian stock market opened for limited trading for the first time since Ukraine invasion, benchmark index up 4% (More)

 

> Initial weekly unemployment claims drop to 187,000, the lowest level since 1969 (More) | US rents up a record 17% over last February to median $1,792 (More)

 

> Uber shares up 5% after reaching deal to list NYC taxis on its app (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> North Korea tests first intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017, breaking a self-imposed moratorium on the weapons (More) | How ICBMs work (More)

 

> Jamaica to seek full independence from Britain, says Prime Minister Andrew Holness; surprise announcement came during visit by Prince William and his wife Kate (More)

 

> Former President Donald Trump files suit against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and others over previous allegations his 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

Nicolas Cage Explains It All

GQ | Gabriella Paiella. One of the industry's most enigmatic stars on why everything is going just according to plan. (Read)

This is for Dickie V

Players' Tribune | Jay Bilas. An ode to the legendary college basketball announcer Dick Vitale, whose bouts of cancer have taken him off the court. (Read)

Changing the Clocks

Freakonomics | Bapu Jena. (Podcast) Examining the health effects of the biannual switch to and from daylight saving time. (Listen)

Chalamet Coughs

The Pudding | Staff. Does the amount of coughing in a film predict which will win Best Picture? You be the judge. (Read)

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ETCETERA

 

America's 50 most filmed streets.

 

Ukrainians protest by marching with a 150-foot-long mural

 

Visualizing the growth of the world's nuclear arsenal.

 

Solar-powered sensors float through the air like dandelion seeds. (w/video)

 

Researchers uncover a 19th-century sunken whaling ship.

 

NASA to test its new super-quiet supersonic jet

 

Stan the T. rex turns up in Abu Dhabi.

 

Rick-rolling turns 35.

 

Clickbait: The NFT craze has gone too far.

 

Historybook: Legendary singer Aretha Franklin born (1942); HBD Sir Elton John (1947); Saudi Arabian King Faisal assassinated by his nephew (1975); HBD race car driver Danica Patrick (1982); RIP children's author Beverly Cleary (2021). 

 

"It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb; the smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to."

- Aretha Franklin

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